SECURAMERICA BUSINESS CREDIT v. KARL SCHLEDWITZ and TERRY LYNCH (Tenn. Ct. App. August 29, 2011)
This is a guaranty case. Appellants personally guaranteed a line of credit for their trucking company. Later, Appellants sold the trucking company to two employees, but were not released by the Appellee lender from their guaranties.
Under new ownership, the company falsified borrowing documents so that more money was extended on the line of credit than was collateralized per the loan agreement. This was done with the complicity of the lender, but without the knowledge of the guarantors. The debtor trucking company defaulted, and the lender sought repayment of the loan from the guarantors.
Following a bench trial, the trial court found Appellants liable for their personal guaranties, but denied prejudgment interest and punitive damages due to what the court characterized as the fraudulent actions of Appellee. In an apparent clerical mistake, on the same date that the trial court entered its final judgment, it also entered an order voluntarily dismissing all claims against Appellants. More than a year later, the trial court entered an order clarifying its prior order of dismissal.
After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that: (1) the trial court properly afforded Appellee relief under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.01 to clarify its prior order of dismissal; and (2) the trial court made incomplete and contradictory findings of fact and conclusions of law, such that further appellate review is precluded. Consequently, we vacate and remand for additional findings.
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